UPDATE 3-Manulife buys Standard Life's Canadian assets for $3.7 bln

Thu Sep 4, 2014 6:06am EDT
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* Companies to expand wealth and asset management venture

* Standard Life to pay out more than half the cash as dividend

* Boosts Manulife's Quebec presence, retirement products

* Analysts welcome reduction in volatility for Standard Life

* Manulife shares close 0.8 pct higher, Standard Life jumps 10 pct (Adds shares, analyst comment, detail, bullet points)

By Euan Rocha, Jeffrey Hodgson and Simon Jessop

TORONTO/LONDON, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Manulife Financial Corp and Britain's Standard Life have agreed a near-$4 billion deal for the Canadian operations of the British insurer as part of a broader global tie-up.

The C$4 billion cash deal will significantly expand Manulife's presence in Quebec and make Standard Life's earnings less volatile while helping it to continue to grow its asset management arm, analysts said.

Manulife said the transaction would boost earnings after the first year and more than double its presence in the largely French-speaking Canadian province, while Standard Life said it will return more than half of the sale proceeds to shareholders.   Continued...